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Tips for Teaching Name Writing

fine motor name writing teacher tips

Helping children to learn to write their names is one of the biggest topics I see questions on.

We want to make sure our students are prepared to enter Kindergarten knowing how to write their name, because let's face it - many kindergarten classroom don't work on that skill much anymore.

So, if your students are ready to start the name writing process, here are my BEST TIPS:

  1. Use golf pencils or crayons broken in half. They are a good size for little hands and will make holding them less tiresome.
  2. Start with the first letter alone.  This makes the start of formal handwriting a little less intimidating.
  3. Create tracing paths for the letters in the names using a yellow marker or grey (when printing). This allows students to see their stroke on top of the yellow/grey letter.  Ditch the dotted letters or letters with arrows- keep it simple.
  4. When moving past the tracing of the first letter, draw or print a square for children to keep their letter inside. This gives them organized space to write their letter. You can reduce the size of the square as they get better at forming letters.
  5. When you are teaching the rest of the letters in the name, I like to do them all at once.  Only because I want them to get used to the flow of writing in a line.  So, after they feel confident in writing their first letter, we move onto the rest of the name.
  6. Make tracing paths for their entire name. This will take a lot of practice before students can form their name on their own.
  7. Make sure your are sitting with children when they are learning to write their names.  If not, you may find that they trace names in ways in which we wouldn't teach them to write the letters conventionally.  
  8. Add verbage to their name writing.  For example: If the name is Max, I would say: 'Start at the top. Big line down, pick up your pencil and back to the top. Now go down the mountain, up and mountain and down again. You made your M.  Next is a: circle and a line.  Now, an x: slant down, pick up your pencil, slant down.  This serves as an auditory reminder of what they need to do.
  9. Once children are proficient in writing their name on their own, try reducing the size of the rectangle or paper.  A smaller paper requires smaller letters. 
  10. Practice name writing in fun ways!  See ideas below:

* Place a large piece of bulletin board paper on the wall/door. Encourage children to write their names on it. Writing vertically helps children build shoulder stability.

* Write names in shaving cream on the table.

* Practice names in a salt tray using a small paintbrush.

* Write names with sidewalk chalk on the sidewalk.

* Use water and paintbrushes to write names on the concrete on a warm day.

* Tape paper to the underneath side of a low table. Have students write their names while laying under the table.

* Lay a piece of bulletin board paper on the floor, encourage children to lay on their bellies and write their name.

* Add clear plastic sheets to the light table. Have them write on the clear sheet with a dry-erase marker.

* Use chalkboards, white boards and sentence strips to write names on.

Leave your favorite name writing practice activity in the comments!

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